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21 April 2024

GCC banks upgrade surveillance at ATMs

Banks are increasingly upgrading their security systems at ATMs to avoid fraud. (CHANDRA BALAN)

By VM Sathish

Banks across the GCC region are upgrading security and surveillance systems around their ATM machines to monitor unauthorised withdrawals and other crimes.

"We are working closely with some of the leading banks in the region," Anwar Hashmi, a senior executive at multinational security company Dedicated Micros, told Emirates Business.

"They want to enhance their surveillance systems so that the activities of customers conducting transactions at remote ATM sites can be monitored from the bank's headquarters.

"Our customers include Al Rajhi Bank, the largest private sector bank in Saudi Arabia, the National Bank of Kuwait and RAKBank of Ras Al Khaimah.

"About 1.2 million ATM machines around the world are vulnerable to such crimes and one new machine is installed every five minutes."

Dedicated Micros supplies closed circuit television (CCTV) networks to banks, financial institutions and retail chains in the region.

General Manager Salim Idris said Digital Video-Internet Protocol (DV-IP) ATM, a professional network video server, could be used to monitor and control crimes around the cash vending machines, especially credit and ATM card skimming, shoulder surfing and straightforward theft.

Recently hundreds of bank customers in the UAE were victims of a fraud in which an international criminal gang withdrew money from their accounts using forged credit cards.

"Using the latest video analytic products, banks can combat ATM crime and the fraudulent use of debit and credit cards. The NetVu Connected DV-IP ATM unit is specially designed for installation within the confined dimensions of ATM machines.

"The unit processes transaction information which is then recorded with the video footage. Post-crime analysis via the built-in text search engine provides video imagery of the ATM user plus transaction information.

"This facility will allow customer service teams to quickly resolve any genuine withdrawal disputes. Spot monitor support provides a visual deterrent which helps to assure customers and staff of a safe and secure cash withdrawal facility."

A network of video servers is designed to meet the demands of 24-hour video surveillance using new or existing internet protocol-enabled computer networks.

ATMi, a dedicated ATM interface module, offers integration between ATMs and a digital video recorder, allowing transaction data from up to eight ATMs to be received, decoded and stored alongside the relevant images.

Al Rajhi, which has 4,000 branches in Saudi Arabia, elsewhere in the Middle East and in Asia, plans to upgrade its entire network with the latest video surveillance systems. These vigilance systems are also being used by other banks, shopping centres and the police.

Nick Bragt, Managing Director of Dutch security equipment company Nedap, said banks and other businesses were seeking more effective monitoring systems.

"We are working with banks, oil companies and educational institutions to provide access control systems," he added. "In a recession companies tend to reduce spending on security but that is a risky proposition.

"Banks, hotels, supermarket chains and government departments are creating centralised monitoring stations and using digital video recording systems to monitor remote ATM locations and bank branches.

"Most banks in the UAE are currently using outdated surveillance cameras and networks. A central monitoring system using the internet or wireless technology can control crime more effectively," said Bragt.

Achyuthandan Sampath, a research analyst at business consultants Frost and Sullivan, said: "Fraud has evolved into a relentless and pervasive issue in the banking and financial services domain.

"Fraudsters are constantly inventing new systems to breach security measures and financial institutions are struggling to check losses due to fraud," Gilles Ortega, Regional Manager of Axis Communications Mena, said traditional CCTV networks had major flaws.